By Siobhan O’Neill White

Finally, Communions and Confirmations are set to go ahead. While Covid is still a worry when getting families together, with some clever organisation, you can ensure you all have an enjoyable and memorable day. Instead of having everyone together at the same time, you can split the party. For our daughter’s Communion, we had my husbands side of the family over for food, drinks and cake in our back garden from 2-4pm and then, my side of the family from 4.30-6.30pm. We got deli food and laid it out on a big table outside so that everyone could help themselves. This cut down on groups congregating in the house! Our daughters Communion dress was too small due to all the postponements, so we went back to Alexanders on Parnell St and they kindly swapped it for another. Another option is to get a dress let out or altered and The Zip Yard are brilliant for this.Gerard in Ilac & Pavilions have new Autumn stock in now and my Mam and I both got our Communion outfits there. Me a jumpsuit, her a dress. Lovely range and good prices. For Confirmation girls Quiz is fantastic as their range starts at size 4; ideal for 12/13 year olds. MyNameNecklace make personalised birthstone necklaces; perfect as a keep sake gift for Confirmation girls. For Communion jewellery, Absolute Jewellery have a great range.For Communion and Confirmation boys, Penneys is superb. Their chinos and cotton shirts are dressy yet comfy. Bestwear in Drogheda have 3 piece suits from only €69.99 for a more formal look! Most importantly, stay safe and enjoy the day! With a bit of clever preparation, you can create wonderful memories for your child’s special day. For more tips, see the dedicated special occasions section on

By Ciaran Russell

You will have heard this phrase ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ before but maybe this mentality is hindering your progress. How often you rest will directly impact on how you adapt to the training stimulus. By training too hard for a long period of time you run the risk of overtraining. This doesn’t have to mean a complete break from your exercise programme; it can be lighter sessions or different exercise than what you had been doing for the previous weeks. The reason rest is an overlooked part of training is because when you stress the body for a number of weeks doing the same or very similar exercises or activity your nervous system won’t have a chance to play catch up and you will eventually crash. When this happens, you may feel very tired, you might experience some cold or flu symptoms and you may find your mood is off. These are typical signs that you need to take the foot off the gas. When you have a balanced training programme of intense exercise coupled with proper rest your body will have sufficient time to adapt and recover in a way that will positively benefit you and your training goals. A ‘go hard or go home’ or ‘no pain no gain’ mentality is outdated. Too many people go all in at the very beginning of a new fitness programme in order to race to the end to see the amazing results only to give up a few weeks later. But if you accept that fitness will be a lifetime endeavor you can plan your goals better and will enjoy your training more. If you take away one thing from this article make sure it’s this; rest & recovery is a prerequisite to exceptional performance. If this is something that you are struggling with and would some extra support you can contact me by emailing or find me on Instagram @ciaranrussell_coach.

By Dave Kavanagh

Making a little time occasionally to go through your finances and budgeting, can be very rewarding and leave you with more money left over each month. A few practical tips:

Carefully study 3 months’ bank statements. Make sure that you can account for every single trans-action. On a regular basis, I encounter people who have been paying for things that they should not be, direct debits they forgot to cancel.Make a detailed list for grocery shopping (and don’t shop while hungry). This leads to only buying what you actually need, a lower bill at the till and less throwing out of food gone off.Compare before you shop for larger items. Just because one store has a fridge you want reduced from €950 to €850 in their “Sale”, does not mean another store nearby that does not currently have a sale on, is not selling the same one for €799. Compare utility providers. Whether it’s electricity, gas, broadband, mobile phone service or similar, there can be substantial savings to be had by switching to better deals. Check when car/house insurance renew-als arrive. Don’t automatically accept a renewal premium without checking around. A few phone calls could save you hundreds of euro.Review premiums on life cover/mortgage protection/serious illness cover. Especially if you arranged it directly with a bank or insurance company that could not compare.In over 20 years of helping people with their finances, I have never seen anyone NOT make savings by doing the above. If anyone would like the free budget spreadsheet in excel format that will calculate totals as you input them, just email with Budget in the subject line. Happy saving!

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing or use the contact form on or phone 087-6414570, or @Davekav_advice on Twitter and Instagram. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation. As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

By Siobhan O’Neill White

At we often hear from with Mammies who are stressed about school expenses; so we have come up with some ways to shop smart and reduce costs - * Label your childs uniform, bag and c oat so if they do misplace it, they will get it back. have personalised labels that you can order with your child’s personal details. Their labels have an antibacterial coating, so Covid and other viruses cannot stick to them. - * Buy Irish - O’Neills offers a personalising service so you can have your child’s name or initials stitched onto their sports gear. - * Instead of buying new ipads and laptops, look for offers on almost new ones. PC Clinic in Ilac SC and Apollo Mobile are great for ‘nearly new’ technology. - * Shop the sales – Many summer sales are on now, check for half price rain & wind proof coats - * Buying bundles of items together can save money. See Smiggle ‘Bundles offers’ on schoolbags, pencil cases, lunchboxes etc. Much cheaper than buying individually. - * For Art supplies, ‘The Works’ stores, they have great prices on all things art related and they do good deals on stationery too. - * Dealz have different school offers throughout the summer, so keep an eye out for lunchboxes, stationery and accessories in there. - * Instead of automatically using the recommended school uniform supplier, see if you can get your child’s crested uniform cheaper elsewhere. - * DIY – If you are on a budget, you can buy generic uniform items from Dunnes Stores and add the crests later. Often schools sell crests separately or, you can have crests stitched in a haberdashery. This is a great way to save a considerable amount of money. - * For college students, Flying Tiger have great white boards, corkboards and colourful accessories to made college accommodation more homely. - * Enter competitions – someone has to win and it may be you! Check out for competitions on back to school items. - * If you’re financial situation has been impacted by Covid, you should apply for the Back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA). Apply at (Even if you are in employment, you may still meet the criteria to receive this grant so it is worth applying!) Most of all, enjoy the summer and try not to get too stressed about back to school. As we have all learned in the past year, being safe is more important than anything else.


By Dave Kavanagh

In an ideal world, people should plan to have savings for different requirements. Short term savings is aiming to have about a month’s salary put by, for things like the washing machine breaking down or similar. Medium term is aimed at planning for things that will be happening in a year or two, such as needing to change the car, having a wedding or having a special holiday (when we can again!). These might require 3-6 months’ salary. Beyond these is what is referred to as long-term savings. This is usually aimed at a period of 5 years or more. It can be anything from saving for children’s third level education to planning to buy a mobile home. The main difference with this time frame is that it opens up more options to try and get some reasonable growth on your savings.

As most people know, bank deposit accounts pay little or nothing in terms of interest. In some cases with certain balances, they are actually charging negative interest, meaning they charge you for minding your money! Savings plans that utilise investment funds are a fast growing option for people that want to get the best out of their savings. They are managed by experts that use a variety of investment types within their funds, such as equites and bonds. Your level of risk is assessed, and a fund or choice of funds that matches your requirements is used. With regular savings, the great part is that every time there is a fluctuation in fund value, you get more units for your premium that month. In the long term, these funds usually way out perform bank deposits. Plans can be tailored for your specific requirements. Talk to your financial advisor to find out more.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing or use the contact form on www.financialcompanion.

by Ciaran Russell

The weighing scales can be a source of a lot of different emotions for people but that doesn’t have to be the case. The purpose of a scales is to measure the weight that is placed and that’s it. It won’t tell you if you have lost body fat, or tell you you have drop a clothes size or even that you can play with your kids without getting out of breath.When looking to lose weight the main aim for using a weighing scales is to track progress over a long period of time. If there has been a change in weight in a short period of time this is unlikely to be a loss of body fat. Weight fluctuations can occur for many reasons. These include; increased salt intake, stress, lack of sleep, water retention, hydration levels and food volume.Giving power to the weighing scales can determine how you feel your progress has gone for any given week. It’s important to have a check in with yourself if you find that your mood changes after checking your weight. You can check in by asking yourself some questions like; how do you feel, how has your sleep been, have you laughed this week, did you hit your daily goals; calorie targets, step count, and protein target. If the number on the scales causes some unwanted distress consider using a different method of tracking your weight loss journey. Other ways to monitor progress can be taking before and after photos, how you feel, energy levels, clothes fitting better, improved fitness or getting stronger, if resistance training. The main thing to know is fat loss and weight loss are not the same thing. If a consistent calorie deficit is in place fat loss will occur but in this period of time body’s eight can fluctuate due to various reasons.If this is something that you are struggling with and would some extra support you can contact me by emailing or find me on Instagram @ciaranrussell_coach.

(Serves 2 person)

x2 Chicken Fillets or Thighs
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
x2 Red Onions
x1 Red Pepper
x1 Yellow Pepper

For the Marinade:
3 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon of Olive oil
1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
Handful of Chopped Thyme and Rosemary

Prepare the marinade first by combining the ingredients as above and mixing well together. Place this marinade in a sealed plastic bag with the chicken fillets/thighs to marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge. For better results leave chicken to marinade for longer.

Remove chicken in marinade from fridge. Preheat the oven at 200’c for 10 minutes.

While the oven is preheating, prepare vegetables by chopping the x2 bell peppers and lightly coating a cast iron skillet (as in image) or oven dish in olive oil.

Place chicken fillets/thighs, cherry tomatoes, red onions and bell peppers in the iron skillet or oven dish. Add more thyme, rosemary and black pepper over the vegetables and chicken.
Place into the hot oven for 35-40 minutes at 180’c or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and all the vegetables are roasted with a slight oven char for extra flavour.Tip: to add a burst of flavour to this dish, add a tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar after removing from the oven.

Serving Suggestion: Freshly steamed new potatoes or a scrumptious oven baked potato served straight from its foil would make delicious sides to accompany this wonderfully flavoured summer dish.

Please follow ‘Biabites’ on Facebook for other food ideas especially in the ‘Fun food’ and ‘Recipes’ albums.Please follow @BiaBites on twitter.For nutrition talks/workshops at events or in schools/workplaces/community groups = please email: Niamh Arthurs BSc, Msc Registered Dietitian and Researcher

For many of us, sitting down with a good book is a pleasure. But what if you couldn’t understand all the words? What if you struggled to follow the book?Dyslexia affects 1 in 10 people and has a huge impact on their lives. Our daughter has Dyslexia and it has caused her so much difficulty in terms of reading, spelling and writing. Homework was so stressful that she often ended up in tears - and to be honest, I wasn’t far behind her. Gradually, we have learned how to help her manage her Dyslexia - to reduce her stress, do her homework and enjoy reading books for fun. With the help of a reader pen, she can understand and enjoy the David Walliams, Harry Potter and Diary of a wimpy kid books by herself. The D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) for Dyslexia campaign, is aiming to get everyone reading this summer, including anyone with Dyslexia. It’s all about finding ways to enjoy reading books. Whether that’s with a reader pen or reading books with your child. My daughter and I read the Wizard Of Oz together last year and it was such an enjoyable experience for us both. The DEAR campaign is about finding what works best, for you and your child. To get find out more check out ( NB: not accessible through this medium). We’ll be making a list of must reads for summer break. It’s so good to have an activity to look forward to that doesn’t involve ipads or phones!! For parenting support and chat about Dyslexia and other parenting issues, go to (NB: not accessible through this medium).


By Dave Kavanagh

Something that I have recommended for many years to clients, is to set up an “ICE” file, (In Case of Emergency). Preferably in either a metal filing cabinet or any container that is fire resistant (some have even used a strong biscuit tin, but only after the biscuits are gone!). Then make sure at least one trusted friend or family member is aware of where it is kept in the home. This way, in the unexpected event of either a fatality, severe illness or even early onset dementia, it removes the confusion of trying to establish details like what bank accounts are there, what cover (if any) is in place, is there a will made? I often hear of situations where a surviving partner says “oh he/she always dealt with all of that, I haven’t got a clue.”So what kind of things should be kept in it?

Consider the kind of information that would be needed at such a time. Details of bank accounts, any loans due to be paid, details of any mortgage and any associated cover in place that could clear such a mortgage. Any life cover details (and any contact names/numbers in connection with them). Details of any regular payments that should be cancelled, such as gym membership, magazine subscriptions, etc. The benefit of having cover plans/ wills in pace is diluted somewhat if nobody knows that they exist or where the details are.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing or use the contact form on or phone 087-6414570, or @Davekav_advice on Twitter and Instagram. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation. As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

By Ciaran Russell

Ever since the internet became a thing people have been conditioned to click and receive. Instant gratification is part of our lives more so now than ever. It can be very gratifying to be able to have what you want, whenever you want for most things in life. People now can accomplish a huge list of things on their phone, all without getting off the sofa.This is now affecting people’s health and fitness causing a massive problem when it comes to diets and losing weight. With instant gratification becoming more prevalent people can look to gain quick results or take some shortcuts to achieving what they believe might be success. These shortcuts might look like juice cleanses, meal replacement shakes or supplements claiming to boost fat loss in short periods of time. When it comes to diet and exercise, there are no instant results.In order to achieve any weight loss or fitness goals you have to have a plan, put in some hard work and effort over a long period of time. Sometimes you can be working for weeks and not see results but then decide to give up. You get discouraged and enter into a vicious cycle of try to lose weight, fail, try something more extreme and so on.Be careful when you see a product or service promising a result in a short period of time. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. People who achieve results, and sustain them, recognise that there is no easy fix. There is no instant gratification. They trust in a plan, commit to it for a few months at least, and amazing things start happening. They look better with their shirt off. Their clothes are less tight. They feel better in their own skin. They start getting compliments.You don’t have to do crazy fad diets for a week to lose weight. You need to do the basics consistently. Train 3-4 times a week. Make sure the majority of your meals are properly portioned. Eat lots of fruit & vegetables. Eat enough protein. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Drink plenty of water.Executing the basics consistently is the one thing that everyone who has lost weight, and kept it off, has done.